Here’s the TV Set-Top Box Apple Could Have Built: Caavo

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Caavo

There are exciting new technologies coming with 4K/UHD TVs. But the basic problems persist in the connection, operation and content selection amongst all the different kinds of sources and boxes. The TV industry and parochial interests, even Apple’s, haven’t made things better. It’s going to require an independent company, deep thinking and brillant engineering to solve the problem. Caavo may be it.

Apple, Let Us Tune into Those FM Radio Channels

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FM Radio

Your iPhone has an FM radio chip that you’ve never been able to use. FCC chairman Ajit Pai thinks that’s a shame, and so does Jeff Butts. While the FCC chairman isn’t going to try forcing Cupertino to turn on the chip, he’s certainly turning up the heat about it. Let’s see what the good chairman has to say, and what impact that might have on streaming music services.

A 4K/UHD Apple TV is Finally in the Works. Now We Know the Story

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Apple TV driving HDTV

The Apple TV has taken a beating lately. The current model is barely state-of-the art. Companies like Amazon, Netflix and Roku have leapt ahead of Apple in 4K/UHD, leaving the Apple TV in 4th place amongst customers. Now we know why, thanks to a Bloomberg report. The question is, can Apple fix the product and make it a winner again?

Who’s More Intelligent, Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa?

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Which AI is smarter, Siri or Alexa?

In the battle of virtual personal assistants, Apple and Amazon have strong contenders. Which one is “smarter,” though, Siri or Alexa? Perhaps it’s too early to really call the race, since both personal assistants keep growing and evolving. Be that as it may, Jeff Butts has put both through their paces, and shares his thoughts.

Russians Who Hacked DNC Now Targeting Macs

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Dramatic interpretation of a hacker plying his trade

A Russian group that hacked the Democratic National Committee during last year’s presidential election are now targeting Macs, according to security firm Bitedefender Labs. APT28—also known as Sofacy, Sednit APT, and other names—has been developing malware that targets Macs and gives the Russians remote access to those Macs. Bryan Chaffin has the details.

Apple Posts New iPhone 7 Plus Commercials to Highlight Portrait Camera

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Screenshots from Apple's Soulmate Spot,

Apple has two new commercials out promoting iPhone 7 Plus’s Portrait camera. That’s the two-lens camera unique to iPhone 7 Plus that allows photographs to have a shallow depth of field (meaning a blurry background and sharp foreground). The pieces explain in very simple terms what Portrait mode on iPhone 7 Plus does for a photo.

Apple, Kill the LG UltraFine 5K and Make Your Own Displays

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As if it weren’t bad enough that the LG UltraFine 5K performed poorly when placed too close to a wireless router, now Apple’s shipping times for the display have slid to five to six weeks. Jeff thinks that it just might be time for Cupertino to resume making the displays for their Macs and MacBook Pros instead of relying on the third-party market to fill the void.

Meet Alo, A Phone Concept From The Future

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Have you ever wondered about a “post-iPhone” future? Well, French designers Jerome Olivet and Philippe Starck have one possible answer. It involves a metal and resin device they call Alo, and it’s meant to be a voice-only smartphone with built-in artificial intelligence.

Apple’s Multiple OS Family Used to Be a Good Idea

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The new Microsoft Surface family

When all we had was Mac OS X (now macOS), our Mac life was simple on Intel-based Macs. Then came iOS with Cocoa Touch, a derivative of macOS for touch devices using ARM CPUs. That seemed so very sensible in 2010. Then, of course, came tvOS and watchOS which means Apple has even more code bases to maintain. While perhaps only a mild burden, the biggest problem may be the future development of Apple devices. John explains.

Some People Have Found Coins In Their MacBook [Update]

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In today’s weird news, apparently some people have found coins hidden inside their MacBook, specifically the optical drive. Is this an engineering tradition of good luck? Or perhaps an error in manufacturing? We dive in to explore the explanations, and apply Occam’s Razor in a show of logic. Updated with comments from Kyle Wiens of iFixIt.

Apple’s Product Vision May Be The Cause of Recent Departures

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Vision and roadmap.

There’s been some discussion recently about the father of Swift, Apple’s  Chris Lattner, leaving for Tesla. Why might this be? John Martellaro ponders the connections in his whimsical way and suspects that part of the issue is the Haskell language and Tesla’s interest in secure software. Another element may be that Apple’s product vision is faltering a bit when it comes to inspiring and retaining talent.

Andy Grignon, Former iPhone Radio Engineer, on Building and Launching The First iPhone

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original iPhone in a hand

Andy Grignon worked on many things during his tenure as an engineer at Apple: iChat AV, iSight, Dashboard … and the radios inside the very first iPhone. Andy took to Facebook last night to offer some reflections on that last bit, 10 years after iPhone’s announcement, and has posted them publicly for all to see. We’ve included the text here in our full article just in case you don’t have a Facebook account, but both his post and the comments over there are worth a read. Andy’s a colorful, honest, and reflective cat. Needless to say also quite smart. Enjoy!

The Unspoken Limits of Apple’s iPad Are Strangling its Evolution

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iPad Pro & pencil

Like the original 128K Mac, the iPad was conceived as a closed, simple appliance device needing little maintenance. But the original Mac evolved out of its childhood, flourished, and supplanted the Apple II. Today, the iPad is also being strangled by its early vision and limitations.  To supplant the Mac, the iPad has to become not just its equal but dramatically better. John explains.